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Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs

Lightly adapted from Epicurious
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs


_For the sauce_

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 12 whole garlic cloves peeled
  • 4 28 oz cans of San Marzano whole tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • Ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

_For the meatballs_

  • 1 cup hand torn day old italian bread
  • 1 cup whole milk approximate
  • 8 oz ground beef
  • 8 oz ground pork
  • 8 oz ground veal
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup grated parmesan plus more for garnishing
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 pounds of Spaghetti


  • Heat a large stockpot (I used my cast iron Le Creuset) over medium low heat and add olive oil and garlic.
  • Stirring regularly, fry the garlic until it is softened and golden brown (about 8-10 minutes). Turn the heat to low if it seems like the garlic is about to burn.
  • Next add the red pepper flakes, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and oregano. Stir for about 30 seconds.
  • Next add the chopped whole tomatoes with the juices from the can.
  • Increase the heat to medium and simmer, stirring intermittently, until the sauce is thick and concentrated. This will take about 2- 3 hours.
  • To finish the sauce- remove the bay leaves and partially blend with an immersion blender to your preferred consistency (I left mine a little chunky).

Meanwhile, make the meatballs

  • Place the torn bread in a bowl with the milk and let rest briefly. Then, squeeze the bread out with your hands to remove the excess milk.
  • Add the bread to a large mixing bowl along with all other meatball ingredients.
  • Use your hands to mix and combine the meatball ingredients together.
  • Next, roll the meat into golf-ball-ish sized balls, and line them onto a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Chill until you are ready to begin frying them.
  • Next, bring a few tablespoons of oil in a non-stick frying pan to medium high heat.
  • Add the meatballs in batches and fry on all sides until browned.
  • Finally, add to the sauce during the last 15 minutes of cook time and simmer until entirely cooked through.
  • Meanwhile cook your spaghetti noodles per package instructions.
  • Divide the pasta between plates and add sauce and meatballs. Finish with additional grated parmesan and fresh basil, as desired.